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The Great British Art Tour: giggles and graffiti bring Glasgow childhoods to life

With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pi

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With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring highlights from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: Joan Eardley’s Two Children, in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Gallery

Two Children carries immense poignancy. It was left unfinished on the easel of Glasgow artist Joan Eardley when she died of breast cancer in 1963 aged 42. As a female artist in postwar Britain, a lesbian who didn’t conform to gender norms, her premature death came just when she was breaking through into the London art scene with an exhibition and a single-artist show, and the year she had finally been made a full member of the Royal Scottish Academy.

A huge painting, Two Children is a striking example of the painterly energy of Eardley’s mature work, firmly grounded in place. From 1950, she had split her time between two very different locations, the picturesque north-east coastal village of Catterline and poverty-stricken Townhead in the East End of Glasgow whose tenement slums were facing imminent demolition.

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